Although both Nintendo and Sega are best partners now, the two companies’ history was fuelled with rivalry. Perhaps the thing that started it all was the release of the Sega Genesis (also known as Mega Drive).
Speaking to Famitsu and translated by Siliconera, ex-Sega President, Hideki Sato, talk about the Genesis’ creation to compete head on with Nintendo’s Famicom. Seeing the success of the Famicom, Sega wanted to one-up Nintendo’s hot selling console, inspiring the Genesis.
Famitsu: I believe the ways of hardware development have changed a bit since the Mega Drive days, but tell us about some of the concepts that went into the planning of Mega Drive.
Hideki Sato: “In short, we just wanted to make a game console that could beat Nintendo. We released our very first video game console, the SG-1000, and it sold 160,000 units. Those were huge numbers, considering Sega has only made arcade games that sold no more than several thousand units up until then. However, it stood no chance against the Family Computer, which released on the same day…
Back then, we had some Sega employees check out department stores to see the product packaging and customer reaction, but instead what we saw were Family Computers flying off the shelves, right before our eyes. They said that it was about ten for every one who purchased the SG-1000.”
You can can read more about the beginnings of the rivalry and Sega’s early console works from Siliconera here.